Women from the coastal regions of Bangladesh have been invited to join one of three cooperative groups as part of an Alliance project funded by the Commonwealth Foundation. They will attend advocacy workshops that will empower them to influence the local and national policies that affect their economic wellbeing.
Bishop Paul Sarker, Moderator of the Church of Bangladesh, chaired the first meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) for the project, and brought together partners ADORE, UBINIG and the Church of Bangladesh (COB) with the Anglican Alliance facilitator for the region, Michael Roy, to discuss future activities.
ADORE are the Alternative Development Organisation for Research and Evaluation, and UBINIG are the Policy Research for Development Alternatives (Unnayan Bikalper Nitinirdharoni Gobeshona).
A successful business woman and a community development worker were also present to share their experiences and ensure the project is taken forward with a holistic view.
Plans for the year were put into place and priorities were set for the outcomes of the project and ways in which the needs of the women and their community’s could be met.
The project will include working with the lower administrative structures to highest level policy institutions at different stages of advocacy.
The NCC will continue to play a key role as they implement and monitor the activities of the project, and they will meet every other month to review the project’s progress.
Effective skills in advocacy are needed at the grassroots as rural communities look to influence policies that govern their livelihoods.
Through this project, 600 women will learn how to engage in the policy-making process, through participation with diverse stakeholders including cooperative departments, line-departments, banks, chambers of commerce, microfinance institutions, social business institutions, market research institutions and successful individual entrepreneurs.
Once the project is complete the successes and good practice learnt will be shared with the Anglican Communion, through the Alliance’s distance-learning programme, Agents of Change, which has been set up with the Open University in the UK.
In the picture: a Bangladeshi woman uses coconut shells to make buttons.